* MSCI Asia ex-Japan steady, Nikkei opens up 0.4 pct
* Yen softer vs dollar ahead of G20
* Gold, oil off lows but seen remaining volatile
By Chikako Mogi
TOKYO, April 19 (Reuters) - Worries over global growth
capped Asian share prices on Friday as more soft U.S. economic
data and mixed U.S. earnings results further undermined investor
sentiment already hit by a broad sell-off that started earlier
in the week.
The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside
Japan was steady early on Friday after falling
0.6 percent the previous session.
Australian shares inched up 0.2 percent and South
Korean shares opened little changed.
Japan's Nikkei average opened 0.4 percent higher.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index broke under its
50-day moving average for the first time this year, signalling a
possible reversal in the market's uptrend to a record peak
earlier this month. The S&P 500 is set to post its worst week
since June 2012, although it remains up 8.1 percent for 2013.
Oil and gold recovered overnight but remained vulnerable.
"Weak growth signals globally are challenging the recent
liquidity-driven moves in currency markets. Moreover, our
commodity price predictor suggests continued testing times over
the next couple of months," Morgan Stanley said in a research
The note added, however, that the liquidity being pumped
into markets by global central banks will continue to lend
"We expect the current pause in currency market trends to be
temporary, providing renewed opportunities to establish bullish
positions in many of the pro-cyclical currencies," it said.
Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new
claims for unemployment benefits rose last week and factory
activity in the nation's Mid-Atlantic region cooled in April.
In the euro zone, political risks remained with Italy's
parliament failing to elect a new state president in its first
vote on Thursday, raising concerns that the lack of a government
would delay fiscal reforms and undermine the
Traders will watch a meeting of the Group of 20 countries
that began on Thursday in Washington for any critical remarks
over the yen's continued weak trend.
The yen was down 0.1 percent against the dollar at 98.24 yen
, as market players believed that the weak yen trend would
be accepted to be a result of Japan's aggressive monetary easing
aimed at beating stubborn deflation, and not simply competitive
The euro held steady around $1.3054.
Spot gold was up 0.1 percent to $1,391.80, rebounding
sharply after falling nearly 3 percent in Asian trade on
Thursday to a low of $1,339.86 an ounce on news that holdings of
the world's largest exchange-traded fund, the SPDR Gold Trust
, had dropped 1 percent to their lowest level in three
Bullion touched its lowest in more than two years of
$1,321.35 on Tuesday.
Brent crude oil rose more than $1 a barrel back
toward $100 a barrel on Thursday, snapping a six-day losing
streak as low prices brought in bargain hunters.
U.S. crude futures were up 0.5 percent at $88.18 a
barrel early on Friday after touching a 2013 low of $85.61 on